Accredit where credit is due

Lee Cecil, NLA National Representative for Wales, talks about the benefits of becoming an accredited landlord.

I have been a landlord in Wales for many years, and during my time I have come across many professional landlords. They treat their tenants well and pride themselves on responding to any issue quickly and efficiently. However, there is no real way for a landlord to clearly demonstrate this apart from saying it.

This is why I support and publicise wherever possible landlord accreditation. I believe we need this as a means of demonstrating responsibility and an ability to drive standards without burdensome state intervention.

Those of you familiar with the housing market in Wales are probably already aware of the Landlord Accreditation Wales (LAW). This requires you to initially complete a full-day training course and then continue your professional development at events (at your own expense) in order to maintain your accredited status.

The NLA scheme is similar but accreditation is free to NLA members who are able to utilise our Landlord Library to complete the course online if you prefer. Your Continued Professional Development is also free either on the Library or by attending the NLA Branch meetings that my NLA colleagues and I run all across Wales and the rest of theUK.

NLA Accreditation is officially recognised by LAW (as well as a number of other local and regional schemes throughout the UK). This means that any landlord who has completed the LAW course can automatically passport onto the NLA scheme and vice versa. Therefore, an NLA member does not have to pay anything to become an accredited landlord inWales.

As the NLA National Representative for Wales, I regularly meet with officials and Minister’s at the Welsh Assembly Government (WG). Here, the status of “Accredited Landlord” and the influence that it can exert is very important. The more accredited landlords we get, the better our bargaining position will be when representing the professional private rented sector.

If we can demonstrate that landlords are increasing their professionalism independently, we are in a much stronger position to argue that WG and the Government in Westminster does not need to do it for us. We might also be able to ask the big mortgage lenders for better Buy-to-Let deals for accredited landlords which could save landlords £1,000s in mortgage payments.

Becoming accredited is not just a status symbol. It also helps the most important thing for every landlord – your bottom line. For example, there are modules on the Landlord Library that explain tax issues and the whole scheme is built on you as an individual and the business of being a landlord. By learning from the experts, you could find ways of reducing your expenditure while increasing your income!

If that were not a good enough reason to become accredited, accredited landlords may also qualify for discounts from Local Authorities. For example, in Cardiff, accredited landlords get a £100 discount on Additional Licenses and in Swansea landlords get a £75 discount per property. This means that by becoming accredited you could save £100s in license fees – it really is a no-brainer as far as I am concerned.

Like LAW, the NLA also offers a one-day attendance course to become accredited. The next Foundation Course in Cardiff is taking place on 21 October 2011 NLA members can attend for the discounted price of only £85.

For a list of alternative courses across the UK visit the NLA website.

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